NABC has been awarded $200,000 in grant funding to support the development of agricultural cooperatives throughout northwest Washington. This fourth round of funding for NABC comes through the USDA Rural Development Department and its Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) Program. Established as a Rural Cooperative Development Center in 2010, NABC will continue its operation as a cooperative development center in order to deliver services that will improve the economic condition of rural areas through cooperative development. NABC will build on its expertise as a business development center to assist individuals and entities in the startup, expansion and operational improvement of rural businesses, especially cooperatives or mutually owned businesses.
NABC will provide technical support to existing and ongoing projects to ensure sustainability. In addition, the following new projects have been included as the primary focus of new RCDG program funds:
• Cooperative Development Training and Outreach (cooperative education proposal)
• Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative, LLC (cooperative in development)
• Whatcom Growers Collaborative (proposed cooperative)
Earlier this year, Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative, LLC (SVFC) played a key role in a privately funded Farm to Table project led by NABC in partnership with City of Seattle Human Services Aging and Disability Division and 21 Acres Food Hub to deliver 1200 bags of fresh, organic produce bags to low-income, homebound seniors in King County this summer. This important program not only helped launch the development of a new farmer cooperative but it gave access to healthy, local food to low-income homebound seniors. “The impetus to form SVFC was brought on by the lack of viable outlets for new and beginner farmers to sell produce and also the need for farmers in the Snoqualmie Valley to take control of our food future. SVFC is owned and operated by farmers and will provide an alternative to the current markets available: farmers markets, CSA, etc. NABC provides SVFC with the support it needs to focus on farming, providing us tools and assistance we don’t currently have at our fingertips,” explains Co-Founder, Matt Tregoning. Congratulations to Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative, LLC for completing its first successful project together!